Attorney-at-Law

“DESIGNED BY GENIUSES”

In Uncategorized on 05/17/2021 at 08:41

It was a time-worn saying in my young day in the Army that certain procedures and devices were “designed by geniuses to be used by idiots.” I suspect certain US Tax Court forms fall into that category.

I’ve often blogged pro se corporate miscues when it comes to filing the Ownership Disclosure Statement, Form 6 on the Tax Court menu. There are but three (count ’em, three) questions to be answered. The hapless pro ses get them wrong every time. The correct answers in 90% of the cases are “NONE.” The pro ses leave the spaces blank, when they bother filing at all. And it goes beyond the unlearned. See my blogpost “Even Good Accountants,” 3/25/19.

I suggested a remedy in that blogpost. So far, nothing.

Today I want to discuss the latest outbreak of defective documentation, the unadmitted Representative who signs a petition. And that brings in a pet peeve of mine, namely, viz., and to wit: a Power of Attorney is either a piece of paper or a collection of electrons. A Power of Attorney is not a human being, unless Form 2848 has been tattooed on that person’s body. And even then, the Form 2848 only appoints a Representative.

Here’s Ch J  Maurice B (“Mighty Mo”) Foley perpetuating the aforesaid pathetic fallacy, in Magda Browning, Docket No. 5748-21S, filed 5/17/21.

“The Petition filed to commence this case…was not properly executed in that it did not bear the original signature of petitioner or of a practitioner admitted and recognized to practice before the Tax Court, as required by the Tax Court Rules of Practice and Procedure. Rather, it appears that petitioner’s power of attorney who is not admitted to practice before this Court signed the petition for her. The United States Tax Court, which is separate and independent from the IRS, has certain requirements that must be met before an individual can be recognized as representing petitioners before the Court. Therefore, unlike the IRS, the Court does not recognize powers of attorneys and Mr. Browning will not be recognized as petitioner’s power of attorney in this case. The Court has prepared Q&A’s on the subject “Representing a Taxpayer Before the U.S. Tax Court. A copy of these Q&A’s are attached to this order. The Court also encourages practitioners and nonattorneys seeking admission to practice before the Court to consult “Guidance for Practitioners” on the Court’s website at http://www.ustaxcourt.gov/practitioners.html.” Order, at p. 1.

I’ll readily admit that Form 2 is crowded enough, so that hapless pro ses and their even more hapless Representatives won’t read the instructions. But perhaps a line stating that Powers of Attorney are worthless and only Tax Court admittees can sign if Petitioners themselves do not might alleviate Ch J Mighty Mo’s burden of admonishing these petitioners and tossing their defective petitions.

And speaking of tattooed Powers of Attorney, I got the idea from the fictional Albert Haddock, who wrote a check to Britain’s Inland Revenue on the side of a cow, in one of Sir A. P. Herbert’s Misleading Cases in the Common Law.

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